Tag Archives: Disney

Where’s Madame Leota When We Need Her?

The future is one of many undiscovered countries.

It’s one of those places we always wish we could see before we get there, but know we can only ever guess. The best guesses are based on taking what happened in the past and then projecting those activities forward in a logical manner. And, even then, past performance is no guarantee of future results.

The worst guesses about the future involve pulling something out of your somewhere the sun don’t shine area.

I bring this up because we, as parents, are tormented by the future. We understand that whatever decision we make today, right now, is going to have possibly significant repercussions in the future.

That is, if we force our young dude to take piano lessons, will that make him hate music for the rest of his life? If we make our young dudette take an art class, will that cause her to doubt her own creativity for the rest of her life?

Admittedly, those are some rather lightweight consequences, but I’m trying to keep it light here and not get into depth about cutting off, say, an adult son who is content to do nothing, go nowhere and regards college and work as things that happen to other people.

Spooky crystal ball is spooky, but not very forthcoming regarding the future and our effects on it.Just, you know, for instance.

Young dudes and dudettes act without thought for the consequences all the time. It’s one of the more obvious definitions of being a teenager: the thought that you’re both invincible and invulnerable.

A lot of times non-parents can simply do something because they want to do it and have no thought of the future. They can do this because, to them, the future is somewhere out there. It’s not a real thing. The future is, to them, something that might happen, but . . . eh, no biggie.

To healthy, financially stable young adults, the future isn’t really real.

As parents, we know the future is as real as the diaper we just changed or the screaming fit we just endured because we took away the television and forced a young dude to go outside and play.

We see the future every night when he or she goes to bed, think about the future and worry if it’s okay while asleep, and smile at it when it wakes up in the morning all grouchy and grumpy but still the cutest thing in the world.

Parents know that the future is not stable, that it can change. This is evidenced by the way our little dudes and dudettes continually grow and become almost completely different people over the years.

The future is as real as the look on your little dude’s face.

So we parents know the future is real, but here’s the thing, the reason why I’d love to have Madame Leota (the floating head in the Haunted Mansion’s crystal ball in Walt Disney World) on retainer: We’re terrified that we’re going to screw the pooch regarding our kids’ future.

Mostly because we — all of us parents — have absolutely no idea what we’re doing.

continued tomorrow

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Do You Remember This?

Memory is a fickle thing.

You might remember the phone number of your girlfriend from high school, but not be able to remember the phone number you just looked up on the computer and have forgotten it by the time you get your cellphone out of your pocket.

You might remember that horrifying time you accidentally ordered sheep’s brains in a French restaurant three decades ago, but not remember what you had for breakfast this morning.

Students, of course, have the most contact with the fickle side of memory. I’m sure every single kid has studied their butts off the night before a test and gone to sleep confident they know everything there is to know about the subject. However, when they sit down in class to actually take the test, the answers remain frustratingly out of reach.

I wish I’d remembered to take that sort of thing into account when my young dudes were, in fact, young. I would have saved a lot of money I spent at Walt Disney World, I’ll tell you that.

Latest research talks about childhood amnesia or infantile amnesia, which means we remember nothing before we’re about 2 years old. The more sporadic holdover takes us up until about age 10 and, from those years, we retain fewer memories than we should, based merely on the passage of time.

And, yet, still we took the young dudes to Walt Disney World because we wanted them to have great memories of the place from when they were younger. We knew about childhood amnesia, but thought we’d be different.

Which explains why I was in Walt Disney World last December, accompanied by Hyper Lad and his mom, my wife, known to me as She Who Must Be Hankering For More Mickey. See, we talked with Hyper Lad and he said he had never been to Disney World before. We begged to differ. He stood firm and we realized he just didn’t remember it.

Which led to me asking his older brothers and I found they didn’t really remember any of their trips with a great deal of clarity, only bits and bursts. Hyper Lad, though? Nothing.

At least, that’s what we thought until we got there.

We were walking through one of Disney’s resorts on our way to a dinner when Hyper Lad had a flash of memory. He stopped still and pointed to the window sill on a room we were walking by.

“That,” he said. “I remember that. We stayed here.”

No, actually, we hadn’t. We had, however, stayed at a hotel where our room was right next to the pool and there had been a windowsill like that outside of our room. He remembered something, but it required some visual and tactile reminders to trigger it.

You might want to keep that in mind the next time you’re considering an expensive vacation with a young dude or dudette. Or even a massively expensive birthday party for one of your spawn.

Which reminds me. . .  Let’s talk more about this on Wednesday, yeah?

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Dude Review: The Lego Movie

Go see this movie!

I don’t know how I can be any plainer, dudes. This movie, The Lego Movie, is just plain fantastic. In a paraphrase of one of the movie’s lines of dialogue (and an iteration of one of many themes) “everything (about this movie) is AWESOME!”The Lego Movie, starring Chris Pratt, Elizabeth Banks, Morgan Freeman, Will Arnet and many others, is a fantastic movie, that is fun, funny, full of love and heart, and just plain AWESOME!

Seriously, this is a revelation akin to the original Pirates of the Caribbean movie. Remember that, dudes. I know I was poo-pooing the entire concept of a movie based on a Walt Disney World ride. It had to be terrible. And, yet, against all odds, the movie was one of the best of the year and still merits rewatching whenever I stumble across it. I just have to forget much of what came after and that’s relatively easy.

This movie has the same vibe. I mean, come on. It’s a movie based on a toy comprising building blocks that you click together. That’s it. That’s the basis.

Well, I should have had some insight that this would be a relatively entertaining movie, considering the various Lego versions of movie video games have been pretty amusing. But this. . . This movie is a quantum leap over the video games. It is, flat-out amazing. And hilarious. Don’t forget hilarious. And moving. Yes, really. It’s moving with a wonderful metamessage.

To start with, after all the gushing, let’s talk technical achievements. Since this takes place in the Lego world, where all the people look like Lord Business Plan, played in The Lego Movie by Will Farrell, is a vicious man er block who plans to destroy the world on Taco Tuesday. The fiend.the little Lego people with their curved hands and all, every single thing is on the screen (with an exception we’ll get to later) is a Lego piece.

Which means that when there’s an explosion (and there are plenty) it’s not a CGI of fire. No, it’s a rapid stop-motion explosion made of Lego flame places. That is, little Lego pieces that are (roughly) shaped like a flame. When Emmet, the generic construction worker and hero, takes a shower, it’s not water or badly CGI’ed water, it’s small blue Lego pieces that come out of the shower head.

Just the detail is an astounding achievement. No matter how small you look in the movie, it’s Legos all the way down. There were scenes where I literally could not close my mouth, forced to hang open in awe.

The story concerns the fascistic Lord Business Plan, who is going to destroy the Lego world on Taco Tuesday. A loose coalition of Master Builders (Lego pieces who don’t need to follow the directions to build something, but can whip whatever they need out of the parts around

Vitruvius, played by Morgan Freeman in The Lego Movie, is the venerable old dude who knows stuff and is there to mentor our hapless hero, Emmet. All, however, is not as it seems.
Vitruvius is most funny near the end of the movie.

them), who are, themselves, Lego versions of real people (Abraham Lincoln, who flies around on a giant stone seat) or fictional people (the best Batman in years, Superman, Wonder Woman, a horribly needy Green Lantern) gather together to stop Lord Business Plan’s um plan. They are led by Vitruvius, a blind, bearded prophet who is voiced by Morgan Freeman, who sounds like he’s having the most fun he’s had in years.

The focus of the resistance is Emmet, the so-called Special, who is destined to find the Piece of Resistance, which will stop the Cra-gl, a weapon so diabolical, it will freeze Lego worlds for ever. Emmet is the least “Special” Lego person ever, the very definition of generic. But he supposedly is the one who will win the day. (Spoilers: He does, but in a way you’ll never guess.)

Near the end of the movie, it changes format completely for a very meta reason. I’m not going to spoil this for you right here, but, trust me when I say, it’s amazing. It adds a tremendous depth and warmth to the movie. Yes, to a movie about Lego bricks. As hard as that is to believe.

This is a movie you really must go see, even if you dudes have to go see it on your own, without benefit of kids. It’s that good.

I’m giving this six (6) dudes out of five. Go see it now. Before it’s out of theaters. And then buy the DVD. You will want to rewatch it.

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